Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

Speeding Up Large Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 15, 2020)

4

Excel users are always looking for ways to speed up large worksheets. If you are using a large worksheet that has lots of static formulas in it, this tip may be of help to you.

Consider the following scenario: You have a large spreadsheet with many hundreds of rows. Each row has a couple of data columns and then a column or two that perform calculations on those data columns. Once the data columns are set, the information in the calculated columns never changes. However, Excel must still perform the calculations every time it goes through a recalculation cycle.

These recalculations obviously slow down Excel. You can see if your worksheet is speedier if you simply copy the cells in the columns being calculated and then use Paste Special to paste them as Values. The formulas are replaced with the calculated values, and Excel no longer has to recalculate hundreds of cells which now contain static values.

If you need to maintain the original formulas that were in the columns, make sure you don't select the top or bottom cells in the calculated columns before doing your copy and paste. These will remain as formulas, and you can copy them as needed at a later date.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (536) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is seven more than 2?

2020-08-17 15:49:34

Jerry Herman

Referring to the Microsoft support topic https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/client-developer/excel/excel-recalculation, it would appear that recalculations are only done for eight listed volatile functions, including functions related to current time (NOW and TODAY), certain lookup functions (OFFSET and INDIRECT) and a few others.

Is there something else going on that I'm missing?

Thanks,

Jerry


2020-08-16 09:31:53

John Mann

Albert
As I understand the tip, in rows where the data won't change (for example data entered for specifiec dates now past) the procedure is replacing the formulas with the result entered as data. If the formulas will be needed in the future for more data entry, then make sure you don't replace the formaly in every row - leave one or two rows with formula intact. That way there is still a formula to be copied.
As and example, I keep the books of a small non-profit group. I could use this procedure to copy & paste-special all formulas for previous months, and leave the current months rows as calculated data
Hope that helps

John


2020-08-15 12:46:04

Albert

Sorry I really don't understand what could be done to keep the spreadsheet faster. "....maintain the original formulas that were in the columns, make sure you don't select the top or bottom cells in the calculated columns before doing your copy and paste"

Is that it?


2020-08-15 04:54:51

Rene Boers

You can turn off automatic calculation and only run it when needed = F9. You can also recalculate the current sheet only = Shift + F9.


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